To Save Our World

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I gaze at this photo taken late last summer, with its fields of loosestrife and goldenrod, the sturdy trees bordering the meadow, and the fluffy clouds softening the deep blue of the sky.   A little piece of Heaven in this world of ours.  Unfortunately, though, for so many on this earth at this moment in time, their everyday reality is of bombings and destruction and terror, and it seems that the terror is spreading rapidly into places where we once felt safe.  There is hatred and dissension growing in our own country.  Distrust, fear, and intolerance color the perspective of many of our citizens.  The Presidential campaign resembles schoolyard bullying, rather than any degree of sensible discussion.

 As a woman in her sixties, I could easily turn my head and heart away from this terrible state of our world — my time left here is dwindling down.  However, as a mother, grandmother, and caring person, I worry and pray and hope that somehow things will improve.  The big question in my mind is what we can do as individuals to save our world as we know it.  I believe that we must begin by attempting to make our own small piece of the world a better place.  We must increase our awareness of local government, school district administrations, and issues that affect us on a local level.  We must vote in the primaries and the town, county and state elections.  We should be cognizant of our local school district budget planning, and vote on the budget each year.

It is extremely important to read articles written by good journalists and listen to news which has been researched thoroughly.  At one time, journalism was a proud profession, but today, anyone can spread false information on the internet or many of the vast TV and radio news programs which are available to us 24/7.  As it becomes more and more difficult to sort fact from fiction, we must all make the effort to be sure the news we are hearing is being produced by real journalists who take pride in accuracy.   

We must encourage kindness and tolerance in our young children.  People don’t just “suddenly” become racist or intolerant — these are learned behaviors.  We must have real conversations with our children with phones, I-Pods, TV, etc. turned off.  The conversations I have had with my little grandchildren amaze me.  They love to talk and to listen; as we discuss the issues they are old enough to understand, they feel validated by our interest in their opinions, and they learn to look at their world with a degree of maturity that will be necessary as they face the challenges of this complicated world.   They must have time to enjoy the natural treasures of our world; then they will be more apt to want to preserve the beauty that is around us.  They must be taught by example to care for other people’s feelings and respect the opinions of others.  

Most importantly, while we may ask, what difference can one person make, we can make a difference in the lives of other people by showing kindness, concern, and respect for their opinions.  We can make a difference by helping to preserve our environment, by volunteering at local shelters or food pantries, by becoming involved in local politics, by mentoring underprivileged children, even by writing letters to our state and federal representatives.  

I admit, we face daunting challenges in this mixed up, dangerous world in which we live, and we obviously cannot change the entire world, but, one person at a time, we can make a little piece of our world a better place, and just think what could be accomplished if each person felt challenged to do one little thing.  We might all make the world just a little bit better place for our grandchildren.

Peace in the Garden


I drifted off to sleep last night with visions of the gardening work I would accomplish today.  My yard consists of many small gardens, scattered here and there, which all have a winter covering of leaf mulch that must be removed to let the tiny new plants breathe the fresh air and reach for the sun.  Last summer we became grandparents to a chocolate lab puppy who has taken over the back yard, digging holes and thoroughly enjoying himself in my lovely little shade gardens.  I have no idea yet if he has permanently damaged any of my precious plants.  Already I see little shoots peaking through in the gardens he has bounded through, but I am anxious to get outside with my rake and see what has been injured and what needs to be done.  

Today is Good Friday, a day off from school for my three grandchildren, which leaves me with an extra weekend day to finally work in the gardens.  This initial work is necessary, but tedious, as I snip off the stalks of old flowers left from last year,  and then with my tiny-pronged rake and gloved hands, carefully remove the leaf mulch.  How exciting it is to find tiny greenery beneath the soggy brown leaves.   The process will be slower this year, as some medical issues during the winter have left me a little hesitant to rush into garden chores at the pace I have in the past.  I will begin in the front yard today, as I want to clear the way for my early flowers — daffodils, hellebore, forget-me-nots, iris and a few hyacinth.  Already, my faithful chive plant has produced three-inch high green sprouts midst the debris from last year.  

Unfortunately, I opened the curtains to a cloudy, damp day, with rain and chillier temperatures forecast for this afternoon.  However, I am not daunted.  There is so much to be done, and I am anxious for the garden to begin its rebirth.  My houseplants have done well so far, but they, too, are showing the need for fresh air and sunshine on the front porch.  These unpleasant tasks of early spring are necessary for the gardens to thrive, and there is much more work ahead — an arbor to be secured, a bird feeder to be moved and mounted out of the reach of squirrels, a gate added to the fence  which was hastily constructed in the back yard last fall to keep the little lab puppy safe and secure when playing outside.   

And so, I sit here for a bit, sipping my coffee and planning where I will begin.  It is a quiet morning, with birdsong the background to my thoughts.  How lovely it will be to finally have my hands in the soil again, after these long winter months, tending the gardens that have brought so much pleasure to my life, with their faithful blooms and lovely surprises.  Spring is finally here; Easter is upon us, and the gardens await my loving care.  

The Gift


Today was a special day for my youngest granddaughter, Emma.  We celebrated her fifth birthday with a small family party for her and a cousin who is turning six this week.  As I watched her opening her gifts, I had mixed emotions.  She is growing up!

 I have watched all three of my grandchildren for the past eight and a half years while their parents are at work.  Alivia and Luke were born only ten months apart, and most days I rocked both babies to sleep in my arms in my comfy old rocking chair, and held them while they napped.  For the first two years of Emma’s life, I tended them all down at my son’s house.  The daily schedule then was a little crazy, as Alivia and Luke had to be taken to preschool each morning and picked up at lunchtime.  For a sixty-year old Grandma, getting two preschoolers to school and back while carrying an infant along was no easy feat.  Nap time for the three of them was also nap time for Grandma.

 Caring for these little ones has been important to me.   All of us have had peace of mind, knowing that they were being cared for by someone who loved them and for whom they were a priority.  My bond with each of them is deep and loving, and there is not a moment when I have regretted the choice to spend my days with them.  As this school year draws to a close, I am increasingly aware that Emma, the “baby”, will be in full day kindergarten next year.  While I look forward to having six hours to myself between school drop-offs and pick-ups, there is a part of me that is also sad to see my little Emma stepping out into the larger world of elementary school.

As I searched for a birthday gift for Emma, I was drawn to a book, LLAMA LLAMA GRAM AND GRANDPA, by Anna Dewdney.  Nearby on the shelf was a small stuffed llama, dressed in red pajamas, who is the main character in each book of the LLAMA LLAMA series.  I love these books, which quietly address some of the inner fears of children, as the little llama faces everyday situations.  All of my grandchildren love books, and I have spent many hours reading to them, and buying them books which seemed particularly appropriate for each of them.   I bought the book and the stuffed llama for Emma’s birthday.  

This is not merely a gift for Emma, however; it is also a gift for my treasury of memories.  When Emma was younger, at nap time she would choose three books; I would lie down beside her on her bed and read the three books.  Then, I would rub her back and sing to her as she drifted off to sleep.  One of her favorite books was Llama Llama Red Pajama, and we read it until I could almost recite it by heart.  Those were sweet days for me; somehow, this new book with its little llama, is the perfect gift for both of us, as my little Emma leaves the shelter of my arms and begins this new chapter in her life next year. 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day


When Irish Eyes are smiling sure it’s like a morn in spring

In the lilt of Irish laughter you can hear the angels sing

When Irish hearts are happy all the world seems bright and gay

But when Irish eyes are smiling sure they’ll steal your heart away.

How very true.  One Irishman stole my heart with his laughter when I was very young , and another with his smiling eyes, which  warm my heart even years after he moved on.  There is something about the Irish that just won’t let you forget — but thank the Lord they were put on this earth to warm us all up a bit!!

The Hopefulness of Spring


As I dressed this morning in those moments between dawn and sunrise, I heard the sweet songs of the birds outside my window, welcoming the new day, and calling to their mates.  While the earth is still brown, the air today a bit chill, and a weak sunshine filters through the clouds, my heart leaps at the signs of spring.  It is difficult to believe, as I push aside the leaf mulch to uncover the first snowdrops — precious as jewels — that in a few short months my gardens will be filled to the brim with lush flowers and greenery, the maple trees casting deep shadows on warm summer afternoons.

Spring is a time of hope.  In the Northeast, March is the bridge between winter and spring, and we hold our breath — hoping that an untimely snow doesn’t fall.  We can’t wait for April, when each day the bleeding hearts,  daffodils, tulips, and lily-of-the-valley grow taller and taller, opening their lovely blossoms by the end of the month for all the world to see.  The lilacs perfume the air and cascade along fences and into our hearts.  Spring is a time of longer days and warmer, softer breezes, which whisper the promise of the summer to come.

Yesterday was a frustrating day for me.  By bedtime, I was emotionally and physically exhausted, and feeling much anger and disappointment in my life.  And then, this morning, my spirits lifted as the birdsong floated on the air.  Moments ago, as I went out to fill the bird feeders, I noticed the slant of spring sunshine and felt the soft caress of the spring breeze, and I realized, there is always hope.  Sometimes all we have is the hope that times will get better — that these problems we face at the moment will somehow be resolved, and we will find pleasure and peace in our lives once more.  That is why we are blessed with Spring!





Welcome to Ponderings

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Welcome to the new blog host site for my Ponderingsandmore blog.  I have moved to WordPress, because of some recent formatting difficulties.  The posts will still focus on my reflections on the beauty in our lives, my experiences as a mother and grandmother, gardening and nature, books, current news, and whatever topic catches my fancy at the moment.

Please bear with me as I learn to navigate this new site.  Soon my blog will be up and running as it was previously, and you can once more feel like you are sitting at my kitchen table, sharing conversation and companionship.